NEWPORT CITY — A city man pleaded guilty last week in Orleans Superior Court to attempted home invasion and domestic assault, among other charges, after accepting a plea deal.
John Riendeau, 37, was sentenced to 18 months to four years to serve for those convictions, plus two counts of violating an abuse prevention order, and one count each of violating conditions of release, criminal threatening and preventing another from calling police.
“Domestic violence continues to be a significant problem in Orleans County,” Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett stated.
“If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please consider contacting Umbrella at 802-334-0148,” she added.
Vermont State Police reported that on Oct. 17, 2018, they responded to a report of a domestic assault at a home on B&B Lane in Orleans.
A neighbor called police saying he was sheltering Riendeau’s wife, Shelly after she arrived unexpectedly, saying John Riendeau had been drinking and assaulted her, police said. She told the neighbor that she left three children ages five, eight and nine in the Riendeau home, police said.
Police said that John Riendeau came to the neighbor’s house and tried to break the front door down and then left.
Police went to the Riendeau home and knocked, but no one answered. They said they saw a treadmill blocking the door. They said they broke a window to enter the home to check on the children’s well being.
They said they heard John Riendeau shouting in a locked bedroom and an officer kicked the door down, entering to find him. Police arrested him and found three children hiding, safe and unharmed, under a comforter in the bedroom, according to the affidavits.
Police said Shelly Riendeau said they fought over whether a son needed an inhaler. Police said she described the assault which left scrapes and blood on her face, and said her husband threw her to the floor and threatened to hit her in the head with a vacuum cleaner.
She said it wasn’t the first time he had assaulted her and that he had threatened in the past to bury her in the “shit pit” at the farm, police said. Others said her husband did not allow her to manage any money and made her turn over her paychecks, police said.
Police said that on Oct. 2, 2018 Riendeau sent his wife a letter, despite a court order begging her to talk to him after he was arrested on a domestic assault charge. He also went to his sister-in-law’s home, where his wife was staying, despite a court order, police said.
Police said they learned that John Riendeau, while in prison, had been sending photographs and money, and making phone calls, to Shelly. Police said they talked through one of the children.